Left-Right-Peace

I took a day yesterday. 

A day to be petty and furious and weepy and exhausted.

A day to be all the things that someone who loooooves personal development “shouldn’t” be.

I put on some gloves and took it out on my heavy bag. I beat it. I kicked it. I called it names like “YOU ****ING SELF-RIGHTEOUS LITTLE ***NT-**SS ***TCH!!!!!!” Super immature, awful things. I laid into the bag until the anger was gone and the sadness took over and I ended up a depleted mess on the floor of my garage.

And wouldn’t you know, laying on the cool concrete, covered in dust and sweat, I felt way better.

Whatever was in me that needed to get out, had moved. The funk I’d been in for a long time felt like it had shaken loose and was puddled up in a Kristen-shaped sweat mark on the floor.

We are scared to go there – into the less-desirable-but-still-completely-valid human feelings. Maybe it makes us feel evil or childish or something. But we need to go there. To move energy and send it on its way. 

Certainly, there are unhealthy ways to do so. Bitching and moaning via status update… Trying to call someone out on social media… Spreading nasty rumors… Being an asshole to the innocent barista… Yeah, those methods aren’t gonna get anybody anywhere. In fact, they’ll probably spread the shittiness around more.

But, if we can move the feelings in a healthy way (without spreading them to other people), it is like MEDICINE for the  psyche. Scream or cry or cuss or rage to an inanimate object. Write an e-mail you’ll never send. Punch a bag. Vent to a friend who will just listen without offering any judgment or unsolicited advice.

Our feelings are real. They are valid. And we need to process them so they don’t become embedded. We’ll get to the higher-level stuff — the love and namaste. But if we skip over the crummy stuff, it will become stuck, flavoring all future interactions with the subtle (or not-so-subtle) taste of bitterness. So take a minute or an hour or a day to let it all move through.

I’m grateful for yesterday. I’m grateful for my heavy bag and my garage and my neighbors who hopefully didn’t hear too much of my tirade. 😳 I’m grateful for my patient man who lets me feel what I need to feel. I’m grateful for the lightness and ease that have slid into the spaces left by things I knocked loose.

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The worst kind of secret is the kind you keep from yourself.

But we all do it. Because looking in the mirror can be the hardest thing. It’s painfully difficult to admit that we’re hurting someone. That we’re letting someone hurt us. That we do things we despise. That we have thoughts we aren’t proud of. 

Not all truths are happy truths.

But. All truths are good truths.

Because once we admit our shit, we are not  prisoners to it anymore.

See, it takes a whole lot of energy (and alcohol) to keep from facing the truth. But keeping secrets from yourself keeps you stuck. Only when you know what you’re up against can you finally go into battle. Yeah, monsters are scary to look at, but once you see them, you can strategize better.

This part of personal growth – finding the monsters – is raw and sensitive. It is a time for loads of gentleness and patience. Keep it close and personal for a while. Sit with it. Don’t shoo it away. Don’t go busying yourself, or pouring yourself another drink. (You’re realllllly gonna want to.) But stay firm and hold your newly-discovered truth out in the light. Watch it transform from being a secret to a guide. 

Eventually you may choose to confide in someone you trust. (Actually, I hope you do… Because there are many wise, empathetic, compassionate humans out there and being vulnerable with one of them can strengthen you like you wouldn’t believe.)

And later, once you’ve felt some victories in battle, you may choose to shout your stories from the mountaintops.

But that quiet moment when you first whisper to yourself those truths that have been right there all along, is where it all begins.

It will sting and ache and burn. But the pain that comes with these secrets is the most dangerous when stuffed down deep. So let it up and out. You’ll feel it on the way, yes you will. But you’ll be so much lighter once you let it go.

 

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Egg Nog is Gross. And It’s Time for Another Workshop.

A few years ago I was setting up the Christmas tree. I pulled out the same box I’d been pulling out since college. The same ornaments. The same cords of little white lights. Normally that was a happy activity for me, full of anticipation and magic and fun and music and egg nog. (Just kidding — egg nog is gross.) But that year, I just wasn’t feeling it. That year, I sighed a bit as I had the thought, “Here we go again…” 

And that thought didn’t have anything to do with the craziness of the holiday season. It didn’t have anything to do with the giant fucking KNOT the lights had tied themselves in. It didn’t have anything to do with Silver Bells playing for the 953rd time on the radio. (Ok, it had a little to do with that.)

Mostly though, it had to do with the fact that I was facing yet another year of my life. It wasn’t a bad life. It just hadn’t changed in five years. Frequently, I would question softly in my mind, “Is this it? Is this everything I hustled for in high school and college? Where is the joy?”

I was stagnant. I hadn’t leveled up in a long time and I was feeling it…

The depression slowly creeping in whenever I sat with myself for more than a few moments.

The crushing anxiety over little things that were unimportant in the grand scheme.

The feeling that I could/should be doing something more or better or different.

I decided not to do anything about it right then. I continued decorating the tree, pasted a smile on my face, and sang ALL THE CHRISTMAS CAROLS.

But life is a bitch kind. It doesn’t let us get away with being stagnant for too long. And the following Christmas, I was on the verge of a divorce and a career change (both rather unpredicted by me).

In the years that followed, I had no choice but to level up and expand. My life had changed so drastically that I had to learn how to live with this new me. I wondered often what life would have looked like had I chosen to take a look at myself just a little sooner. Would I have needed the giant wake up calls that came my way? I can’t know.

What I do know is that we humans are meant to level up. Forever.

Growing doesn’t stop after graduation. We are destined to continue expanding for the rest of our lives. In fact, it is downright painful not to. We were not meant to live  stagnant, drama-filled, anxious, numbed-out, lame lives. We were meant to love, feel, teach, and grow.

And growing must start with digging. Digging through the muck. What’s the muck? Old habits, thought patterns, relationships, and beliefs that are holding us back. It’s not pretty or pleasant. But it’s oh, so freeing.

Ready to level up and don’t know where to start? I got you. I’ve got another workshop on the calendar for January 20th and 21st, 2018. It’s called The Muck Workshop. You can read more about it here. You can register here. If you are interested, but not ready to commit yet, put yourself on this email list to get more updates.

Lots more about this coming up in the following weeks. For now, I want to know what you think: What is the #1 reason we find it difficult to start digging? E-mail me at kristen@imperfectedges.com and let me know.

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